Podcasts for the Road
July 1, 2022 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I am once again a MeFite, standing in front of an AskMe, asking for podcast recommendations. Looking for recs for both series and individual episodes.

I have a large chunk of travel this weekend and am assembling a podcast playlist in preparation. I am particularly looking for:

1. Great individual episodes of podcasts (any genre, although bonus points for funny episodes!)

examples of podcast episodes I have enjoyed recently:
Pronghorn! w/Vinny Thomas - Just the Zoo of Us
Always Google Your Neighbors - Normal Gossip
Semisonic - "Closing Time" - Song Exploder (from this AskMe thread)

2. Investigative podcasts (miniseries - or if multiple seasons on different topics, specific seasons)

examples of investigative podcasts from the past year:
The White Saviors
Bad Blood: The Final Chapter
The Trojan Horse Affair

I got a number of interesting responses to this AskMe two years ago, so I am looking for more recent recs - although, if you've got a less recent rec not on that list that you feel strongly about recommending, feel free to share!
posted by panther of the pyrenees to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
You might like The Missionary

"A young missionary named Renee Bach left her comfortable life in America to start a malnutrition program in rural Uganda. Folks back home and in Uganda praised her as a model missionary -- an example of the healing power of God’s message. But a decade later she’s accused of masquerading as a doctor and rumored to have killed hundreds of children in her unlicensed clinic"
posted by i_mean_come_on_now at 10:37 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Slate's Slow Burn
If you liked Song Exploder but want to hear more broadly about sound, Twenty Thousand Hertz. There are lots of different episodes, pick sounds you like or want to know more about.
Against the Rules
Chameleon (It's probably listed as Chameleon: Wild Boys, but there's three seasons and they change the subtitle every season, all three are good)
Also from the Chameleon Link, Hooked
Gangster Capitalism (multiple seasons, all good)

(You already have Normal Gossip and it's SO GOOD)
posted by deezil at 10:41 AM on July 1

Jamie Loftus's Ghost Church about American Spiritualism and Cassadega just wrapped up and is pretty enjoyable (haven't finished yet).
posted by supercres at 10:55 AM on July 1

If you liked The Trojan Horse Affair you might like Novara Media's Foreign Agent mini-series. It's about North American support for the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the 1970s – 90s (what gets referred to as 'the Troubles' in Northern Ireland).

It's available through Novara's normal podcast feed / .rss – search 'Novara Media' in your podcast app. 6 episodes so far + 2 bonus episodes.
posted by Joeruckus at 10:57 AM on July 1

I'll toss a second recommendation in for Against the Rules, although in moderation: I listened to the Baby Judge School episode back-to-back with the After Dobbs episode of What Roman Mars can learn about Con Law, with Elizabeth Joh, and now I'm not sure if I can believe that a functioning justice system is possible.
posted by straw at 11:23 AM on July 1

First, that time Reply All investigated a telephone scammer. Part 1 | Part 2

This week's 99% Invisible about Sakhalin was amazing.

A classic: Oh No Ross and Carrie investigates Scientology by joining: Here's part 1 of 9
posted by General Malaise at 11:23 AM on July 1 [3 favorites]

Less a podcast recommendation and more a particular episode recommendation and maybe even more so a particular story on an episode recommendation, but the story Snow Globe on the Risk! podcast is a particular favorite piece of storytelling. Much more suited to the holiday season but it is worth it this time of year if you appreciate storytelling.
posted by blackjack514 at 11:26 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

It’s a couple years old, but Wind of Change was a super fun investigative podcast.
posted by theotherdurassister at 11:28 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

I also liked Bad Blood and the Trojan Horse Affair, here are some other investigative series podcasts I've liked:

-Floodlines (about Hurricane Katrina/New Orleans)
-Will Be Wild (about Jan 6)
-Project Unabom (the unibomber)
-9/12 (on the aftermath of 9/11)
-The Line (on the division between military families and the rest of us)
-Running from Cops (about reality TV cop shows)
-School Colors (race in public schools in NYC)
-Hot Money (about who controls the $$ behind the porn industry, really interesting/surprising in parts)
-Things Fell Apart w/ Jon Ronson
-So You've Been Publicly Shamed

These are not series per say, but are one-off episodes all under a broad theme:

-Rough Translation (about when cultures cross or clash - currently they are doing a series on work place cultures around the world, but the archive is full of all sorts of topics)
-The Experiment (every episode is about some topic related to American politics and/or culture)
posted by coffeecat at 11:42 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I really liked Wild Boys: The latest season of the wildly popular con-themed podcast Chameleon takes place in the summer of 2003 when two half-starved young men turned up in a small Canadian town telling an incredible story. They’d been raised in the British Columbia wilderness, and this was their first-ever contact with society — they’d never seen a TV, gone to school, or registered for IDs. So the community took them in and set about introducing them to the modern world. Before long, the international media descended on the town, enthralled by the mysterious “Bush Boys.” There was just one problem: not a word the boys said was true. Nearly 20 years later, award-winning comedian and journalist Sam Mullins uncovers the bizarre true story of the strangers who turned his hometown upside-down.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:42 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

It has almost 1,000 episodes and 2 million weekly listeners, but I just learned about it recently so others may also be ignorant: In Our Time, in which broadcaster Melvyn Bragg discusses a topic with three experts. It ranges across history, science, literature, philosophy, and other subjects.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:08 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]

Reply All imploded at some point but the episode The Case Of the Missing Hit is very good.
posted by vunder at 12:28 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]

Also, Decoder Ring's Mystery of the Mullet is very good.
posted by vunder at 12:31 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]

Despite the depressing nature of the subject (tracking down a serial child abuser), I found the investigative podcast Where is George Gibney? very good. It puts the victims' experience in the centre, does actual proper investigation, and has great Irish accents.

Other true crime/investigation: The Teacher's Pet & The Other Latif & The Nobody Zone & In the Dark (Season 2).
posted by snusmumrik at 2:27 PM on July 1

I Said No Gifts with Bridger Winegar - recent episode with Jon Lovett was very funny

The Juice with Solomon Giorgio is basically the same concept as Normal Gossip, but I am finding it more enjoyable.
posted by lizard music at 2:42 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]

Piggyback on my question about the Greatest podcast episodes of all time.
posted by jasondigitized at 2:45 PM on July 1

David Tennant Does a Podcast with... has some good episodes. I think the ones with Billie Piper and Olivia Coleman are the best but now that I think about it the Neil Gaiman and Stacey Abrams ones were good too.
posted by fiercekitten at 3:38 PM on July 1

Try the You're Wrong About 3-part series on the DC Snipers. Not exactly investigative but summarizing a crime and what went into it, with a feminist bent (focus on his history of domestic violence). Something about their close analysis of the people involved makes it really interesting -- if you like "character-driven novels," you'll like this. If you like it, there are a bunch of episodes on the OJ Simpson story (also good but lags in some places).

On a different note, this segment of Snap Judgment has always given me chills.
posted by slidell at 6:39 PM on July 2

Jamie Loftus also did a podcast about Mensa that was fascinating.

The episode of Judge John Hodgman where a dad refused to pronounce "Salsa" correctly is a delight, but the whole series is great.

Nthing Bridger Winegar - just a delightful light-hearted show.
posted by getawaysticks at 3:10 PM on July 4

Wondery made some of my favourites:
- Against the Odds -- true stories of survival. I liked the Shipwreck on the Sahara series.
- Operator -- rise and fall of a phone sex empire.
- Harsh Reality -- about the life of a trans woman and the controversial reality show she starred in.
posted by far flung at 8:38 AM on July 5

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